Uncertainty prevails over the participation of four Chanakya National Law University (CNLU) students at an international moot court competition at Stetson University in Florida over purported funds crunch of the institute.
Last year, the team of Vagisha Pragya Vacaknavi, Vibhanshu Srivastava, Jayanti Bhasker and Abhinav Tripathi became eligible to represent India at the Stetson Environmental Moot Court Competition in Florida. The competition will be held from March 21 to 23.
However, the team’s chance of participating in the competition seems slim with the CNLU administration refusing to foot the entire travel cost of the students.
This is the first time a CNLU team has got an opportunity to compete in an international-level moot court competition. Vacaknavi said: “The air tickets for the round trip cost around Rs 1 lakh per student and in such a situation, bearing the entire cost will be difficult for students.”
Vice-chancellor A. Lakshminath said: “For an institution like CNLU, which is new, we cannot compare it with Nalsar (in Hyderabad), NLSU (National Law School of India University, Bangalore) or Symbiosis University. They are old institutions but we are just five years old and in the process of strengthening our infrastructure.”
“The CNLU administration has put a clause that the institute will reimburse the 50 per cent of the ticket cost once the students return from Florida after the competition,” said Vacaknavi.
Lakshminath confirmed that the institute has promised to finance 50 per cent of the students’ travel cost, despite its limitations.
Apart from the CNLU team, students from National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow, and National Law University, Delhi, are taking part in the international moot court competition in US.
Vacaknavi said all the three institutions are funding their students’ travel expenses for the US trip, while the CNLU administration has put up their hands in bearing the same over purported funds crunch. She said: “For any institution, it is a matter of great pride that their students get a chance to participate at the international competition. The matter assumes more importance for a relatively new institution like CNLU.”
The team of Vacaknavi, Srivastava, Bhasker and Tripathi became the runners-up at the 17th Stetson Environmental Moot Court Competition held at National Law University, Odisha, in Cuttack in November last year.
If CNLU does not finance the four-member team’s travel expenses, Vacaknavi said they would be left with no other option but to drop out of the Florida competition, which was won by National Law University, Jodhpur, in 2012.